ESP 178 Research Methods

Course Objectives

The purpose of this course is to train students in the fundamentals of research design in the social sciences. The first half of the course will provide an introduction to the concepts and structure of scientific inquiry.  You will develop an understanding of the fundamental distinction between inductive and deductive reasoning, the processes of conceptualization and measurement, the concepts of validity and reliability, and the basic elements of research design.  In other words, this part of the course will teach you how to turn a general research question into valid measures of the real world.  The remainder of the course will provide an introduction to ways of collecting, analyzing, and presenting data.  You will learn the basics of sampling, survey design, qualitative methods, field research, and using census data and other secondary sources, and we will discuss key issues in analyzing quantitative and qualitative data.  By the end of the course, you will be conversant in the language of social science research and know what questions to ask of yourself and others in the design of research projects and the use of research results.

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